Some argue that Genesis 1 and 2 are contradictory concerning when plants were created. Those who make this argument say that Genesis 1 says that plants were created before humans, but Genesis 2 seems to say that plants were created after humans. However, there is a very easy answer to this alleged contradiction.
Scriptures – Were Plants or Humans Created First?
Plants Were Created Before Humans
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.Genesis 1:11-13
Then God said, “Let us make man“… And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.Genesis 1:26-31
Plants Were Created After Humans
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—-for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—-then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.Genesis 2:5-9
“of the field” is a key phrase
The plants in Genesis 1 are different from the plants in Genesis 2. Genesis 2 refers to “no bush of the field” and “no small plant of the field.” The phrase, “of the field” appears in Genesis 2, but not in Genesis 1.
The phrase, “of the field,” refers to plants that are tended by humans, or plants in a garden. So, Genesis 1 refers to the creation of wild plants that are not tended by humans, and in Genesis 2, wild plants are already in existence, but plants that are tended by humans in a garden could obviously only exist after humans were created.
Giving the Benefit of the Doubt to the Author
Since the same author wrote Genesis 1 and 2, we should give the benefit of the doubt to the author. We should assume that the author would be intelligent enough not to include such an obvious supposed contradiction.
Some argue that Genesis was not written by just one author, but multiple authors. Here is the response to this [[Document Hypothesis]], or the [[JEDP Theory]].
More Answers to “Contradictions” in the Bible
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: